What should pastors do?

I’m curious to know:

What do you think are the main responsibilities of local church pastors?

Are there some things that only pastors should do, but no one else in the congregation?

Are there things that pastors should not do, but only other people in the congregation?

If you were creating a job description for a local church pastor, what would you include?

I’m not necessarily looking for right or wrong in this, so as you comment, feel free to use any or all of your preferences, church traditions, and backgrounds, in addition to the Bible.

Within a couple of months (probably), I’ll post a biblical theology of the pastoral ministry (i.e., what pastors should do).

Thanks for playing!

10 thoughts on “What should pastors do?

  1. Here is some quick thoughts. Proclaim the word of God, especially the Gospel. Live a life worthy of their calling. Study God's word. Disciple others. Wow, so should we all. 🙂

  2. Here's my answers: No, there's not really anything a pastor does that anybody in the church couldn't do as well. Although it occurs to me that perhaps deacons and other lay people may not be legally able to conduct weddings. I'm not sure about that one. But so far as the ministry goes, I can't think of anything that belongs only to the pastor's job description.

    The only thing I can think of that a pastor should NOT do that church members should do is vote himself a pay raise. 🙂

    Job description: Ability to do drywall, paint, plumbing, etc is a plus. Must be good with difficult people. Self starter able to deal with high stress situations. Seriously, I used to preach Ephesians 4:11-13, and it's amazing how many Christians read that passage to be a job description of the pastor. You know, "He gave some pastors, to do these three things (perfecting, working, edifying)."

    The way I read that passage, it's a sequence, a progression. God gave pastors to equip (perfect) the saints, SO THAT the saints can do the work of the ministry, SO THAT the body of Christ is edified. I have actually heard believers say things like "X is the pastor's job" (where X is witnessing, visitation, preaching, teaching, etc.), thus absolving themselves of any responsibility in the work of the ministry. How sad.

    • Thanks, Steve. Both sides of your point (the pastor's job to do or to equip?) are frequently-mentioned and will certainly show up in my study.

      Regarding weddings, at least in Indiana, the state doesn't care who "officiates" or says the words; they just care who signs the legal marriage certificate. I conducted my brother's wedding before I was ordained, but the pastor signed the paper. The state doesn't care.

  3. I forgot to mention something. When I say the pastor's job is to equip the saints so that the saints can do the work of the ministry, etc, this doesn't mean the pastor doesn't have to do the work of the ministry. The way I see it, the pastor has a dual role: he is the undershepherd, but he is ALSO a sheep. So he has to equip the saints AND do the work of the ministry.

  4. I have been pondering this much lately. Being a pastor myself I recall how “freeing” it was for me and the our team to “discover” that we were not to do the “work of the ministry” but to equip those nice people who are coming to church to do it. So basically we could just exhort them and train “equip” them to do the work and we would….um…oh yes train and equip them. I am an NIV and NASB man but when looking at the original which has no punctuation, the placing of commas can make a huge difference.
    To cut to the chase in the KJV and older translations, along with all the old commentators, Gill, Henry, Barnes, Clarke, Pulpit the emphasis was on the offices mentioned in Ephesians 4 as those who do the work of the ministry, build up the body, through their ministry, which was obviously the revolutionary, transformational preaching and teaching of the mysteries of the Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Have we really exhausted that? It is a living truth and dynamic truth not a static one. I hardly ever hear anything of substance on this. (except from fringe groups on TV which is no wonder even our people look there since they are the only ones talking) It is no wonder the saints are not growing up into him. They are too busy being “equipped and trained” to usher, facilitate a group, dream big dreams. The outside of the cup is shining but I get too any counseling calls, and too many conversations are telling me a different story.

    Forgive my vent. I think the verse is saying that “equipping or building up or perfecting of the saints” is the ministry of the offices mentioned. Building up is a result of the saints receiving this proper diet and they grow up into him of whom they are hearing. Their faith grows by hearing the word of the Lord.

    Thanks

    • Hi Frank,

      Thanks for commenting.

      You said: “I am an NIV and NASB man but when looking at the original which has no punctuation, the placing of commas can make a huge difference.”

      You’re absolutely right. In this case, the punctuation could change things dramatically. Of course, we can’t build all of any one doctrine from a single passage, so whatever we take from here should be confirmed in the rest of Scripture.

      You said: “To cut to the chase in the KJV and older translations, along with all the old commentators, Gill, Henry, Barnes, Clarke, Pulpit the emphasis was on the offices mentioned in Ephesians 4…”

      That makes sense, since all of the old commentators were using the KJV as their text. Unless they were using the Greek as well, they would naturally make their comments from the King James.

      You said: ” It is no wonder the saints are not growing up into him. They are too busy being “equipped and trained” to usher, facilitate a group, dream big dreams.”

      I think this is not an either/or. We are to both “train” in the Scriptures and “equip” for ministry (good works, 2 Tim 3:16-17). This is done through the Scriptures and hands-on ministry.

      You said: “Forgive my vent.”

      No forgiveness necessary. I appreciate your comments. I have started a three-post follow-up to this question. You can see part one at http://www.danielgoepfrich.com/pastoral-role/. In this series, I’ll be addressing the Scriptural teaching on the pastoral role, definitions, and team.

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